Lawrence Rayborn Cowell, 62 from Anaheim, was sentenced Jan. 26, 1990, to two concurrent terms of 25 years to life in state prison. Cowell was convicted for the 1982 murder of his lifelong friend, 27-year-old Scott Campbell.
On April 17, 1982, while out on bail for a separate crime, Cowell rented an airplane and hired ex-convict Donald P. DiMascio to murder Campbell.
DiMascio assaulted and strangled Campbell to death while Cowell piloted the plane. They smashed Campbell's face before throwing him from the airplane near Catalina Island so sharks would eat the body.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office opposed the parole. Collene and Gary Campbell, the parents of murder victim, appeared in court to oppose the parole as well.
"Cowell callously lured his trusting friend into a trap to gain a few bucks and brutally murdered him," said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "By throwing Scott Campbell out of an airplane and into the ocean, he denied the chance for Collene and Gary to properly bury their son and visit a grave. He poses great danger to the community and should never be allowed to be free."
Cowell is currently being held at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe, California. He will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2016.